Thursday, 24 November 2011

Underrated Movie (3) "Night Passage"

Why do I like this film so much? I suppose the answer is "atmosphere". It was made in 1957 and was planned as another Anthony Mann - James Stewart western. Apparently Mann did not like the script and was unhappy with some of the characters. He was also unhappy with the casting of Audie Murphy in a central role. It is true that there are some similarities with other Mann films - Dan Dureyea for one, playing much the same role he played in "Winchester 73", and Stewart's character is not as hard as Mann would have wished, but I do not agree with most of the reviews I have read which take Mann's side. Some say the film is unbalanced and that the dialogue is poor; I disagree. Of course, the different parts of the film all contribute to the overall effect. The scenery is breathtaking and the photography superb. The action sequences are very well directed (by James Neilson, Mann's replacement). I suppose I also like it because it is a story about redemption on more than one level. There is a "religious" heart to the movie, and I suspect this is what some people really dislike. However, you have to make up your own mind. It is cheap on Amazon and can even be seen free on the internet. In my opinion it is one of the most underrated movies of all time.


  1. I love thse old movies, perhaps because I grew up in these times. Here in Australia we didn't get to go to the movies much then as we lived in the country. We didn't own a TV either until I was fourteen.
    I lived in America for three years from 2004-2007 and one thing that impressed me while living in Tennessee (east coast) was how people were unashamed to say 'Grace' in a public eating place. This is something my hubby and I now share when we eat out. We are not ashamed to thank our Lord for his bounty to us. Movies are made on the west coast of the U.S. so I don't know how they are over there about religion? I find it so sad when people don't and won't give God the glory or when they don't want to know Him who died for them.
    Blessings to you. Sr Crystal Mary

  2. Dear Sr. Crystal, thank you for commenting. I sometimes wonder if it worth making these observations, but I am a long-standing cinema freak and used to know so much that I annoyed people whenever we played quiz games! Holywood - in spite of itself - sometimes turned out deeply-felt and worthy movies, sometimes overtly religious, sometimes with a profound moral message that comes through the characters and the storyline. I recently watched an old movie called, "The Fighting 69's". it is really about Fr. Duffy, the First World War American Army Chaplain. It is an overtly religious film in spite of the fact that it is also an overblown patriotic movie. The central theme running through it is about the salvation of souls. Whatever else Warner Brothers wanted to do with this film, this theme is uppermost. I thank God for such things. Wherever there are people who pray and worship God regularly in the movie world, we can expect to see good fruit (as in the case of John Ford and Frank Capra)